MoboReader> Literature > Andy Grant's Pluck

   Chapter 11 CONRAD'S DISAPPOINTMENT.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7834

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


With his mind in a whirl, and still believing that it was Andy's boat which had been injured instead of his own, Conrad pushed on rapidly toward the pond. Yet he had an instinctive fear that his informant might be correct.

When he reached the point where his boat had been moored, he used his eyes eagerly.

It was all true! His boat-his beautiful boat-with which he had been perfectly satisfied till Andy received a better, was scorched and hacked up till it was clear he could never use it again, and Andy's boat was not visible anywhere. Tears of rage filled Conrad's eyes.

"It is a terrible mistake!" he ejaculated.

"Mistake! What do you mean?" asked John Larkin.

Conrad reflected that his words were betraying him.

"I don't know what I am saying," he replied, vaguely. "Yes, I do. I believe Andy Grant did this."

"Andy Grant!" repeated Jimmy Morris. "Why should he injure your boat?"

"Because he hates me."

"Andy isn't that kind of a boy. Besides, he has a newer and much handsomer boat himself."

There it was! That was what stung Conrad. His boat was second to Andy's.

As the three boys stood on the bank, a small boy, named Peter Hill, came up. He lived in the house nearest the boats.

"Did you see any one near the boat, Peter?" asked John Larkin.

"Yes, I seed a big tramp in de boat. He set it on fire."

"That explains it, Conrad!" exclaimed Jimmy Morris. "I saw the tramp myself in the village."

"Pooh!" said Conrad. "I don't believe it."

"But I seed him burnin' de boat!" persisted little Peter.

"Then why didn't you tell somebody?"

"All de folks was away and I didn't dare to go near it. He had a hatchet, too."

"I say, Conrad, let us hunt for the tramp, and, if we find him, have him arrested."

For obvious reasons this proposal of John Larkin did not meet Conrad's approval. He was afraid of what the tramp would tell.

"I'll ask my father what to do," he replied, evasively. "The mischief is done and there is no help for it."

Conrad was already looking more cheerful. An idea had come to him.

Now that the boat was destroyed, his father might be willing to buy him another, and, if so, he might be persuaded to buy one as good as Andy's, perhaps better. He turned to go home, and let the boys know that he did not care for company.

On the way, not far from his own house, he encountered the tramp. At the sight of this man, whose stupid blunder had cost him his boat, his eyes blazed with anger.

But this the tramp did not see. He slouched up to his young employer, saying, with a cunning grin:

"Well, did you see it?"

"Did I see it?" repeated Conrad, boiling over with fury. "Yes, I did."

"I did it pretty well, didn't I? I guess the boat isn't good for much now."

"You stupid fool!" blazed out Conrad. "It is my boat that you ruined. I have a great mind to have you arrested!"

"Your boat? It was the boat you pointed out to me."

"No, it wasn't. It was my own boat."

"Then where was the other boat? I didn't see but one."

"I don't know, but you might have had sense enough to know that you'd got the wrong boat."

The tramp's hopes fell. He had intended to ask for another dollar from Conrad, but he saw now that there was no chance whatever of his obtaining it.

"You'd better get out of town as soon as you can," said Conrad, roughly.

"Why should I?" demanded the tramp, sullenly.

"Because you were seen destroying the boat."

"Who saw me?"

"A small boy who lives at the next house. You might be arrested."

"If I am, I'll tell the truth. I'll tell who put me up to it."

"And I'll deny it. Do you think any one would believe your word against mine, especially as it was my boat that was ruined?"

The tramp saw the logic of this remark and walked away. He was seen no more in the village.

"Now I'll tackle father," thought Conrad.

He directed his steps homeward and informe

d the squire of what had happened.

His father frowned and looked displeased.

"If you are not smart enough to take care of your boat," he said, coldly, "you will have to suffer the consequences."

"But I don't see how I am to blame?"

"Have you any idea who did the mischief?"

"Perhaps Andy Grant did-he doesn't like me."

"I don't think that very probable. You can charge him with it if you think best. But I thought you told me he had a new boat of his own?"

"So he has-a perfect beauty! It is ever so much better than mine. I wish-"

"Well, what do you wish?"

"That you would buy me one like his."

"Well, I like that. After losing your boat through your own carelessness, you want me to invest a large sum in another."

"Must I go without one, then?" asked Conrad, in dismay.

"It looks that way."

Conrad resorted to earnest entreaties. He was willing, now, to accept any sort of boat, for he was fond of rowing; but Squire Carter had just heard unfavorable reports from his broker about a speculation he had entered into, and he was inflexible.

"What a fool I was!" reflected Conrad, bitterly. "My boat was a good one, even if it wasn't as fine as Andy's, and now I have none. I shall have to borrow his or Valentine's when I want to go out rowing."

Later in the day he met Andy.

Andy had heard of Conrad's loss and was full of sympathy.

"Conrad," he said, "it's a shame about your boat being destroyed."

"Yes, it is pretty hard."

"The boys say a tramp did the mischief."

"I think it very likely. There was a tramp about town yesterday. I saw him myself."

"What could have been his object? Ruining the boat would not benefit him."

"It might have been out of revenge. He asked me for a quarter and I wouldn't give it to him."

This explanation occurred to Conrad on the spur of the moment.

"Can't you have him arrested?"

"He is probably out of town by this time."

"I suppose you will have a new boat?"

"Yes, after a while."

"I will lend you mine any time you wish."

"Thank you," said Conrad, but he spoke coldly and ungraciously.

It seemed to him humiliating to receive any favors from a poor boy like

Andy Grant.

Two weeks later, when Andy went over to the hotel, as usual, to meet his employer and pupil, Mr. Gale said:

"I have some news for you."

"I hope it is good news."

"I don't know that you will consider it so. I shall have to leave you for a time."

Andy's face fell. This certainly was bad news.

"I have received a letter this morning," continued Walter Gale, "from an uncle living in the interior of Pennsylvania. He is not an old man-I don't think he is much over fifty-but he writes me that he is near his end. The doctor says he may live three months, certainly not over six. He has always been a bachelor, and I believe owns coal mines of considerable value. I was always a favorite of his, and now that he is so sick he wants me to go out and be with him in the closing weeks of his life."

"I suppose you will go?" said Andy, and he looked very sober.

"I think it is my duty-don't you?"

"Yes, I suppose it is your duty."

Andy began to think what he should do. He had had an easy and profitable engagement with Mr. Gale, but this would now be over, and he would have to go back to farm work, or try to get a place in the village store.

The latter would yield him only two dollars and a half a week, which seemed to him very small compared with what he now received.

"I shall miss you very much, Mr. Gale," he said.

"I hope you will. I shall certainly miss you."

"It will seem very dull going to work on the farm after my pleasant days with you."

"You won't need to go to work on the farm, unless you choose to do so."

"But I must earn something; I cannot be idle."

"Oh, I forgot to tell you what arrangements I propose to make for you."

Andy looked up eagerly.

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares